With a lot of non-vegetarian options on its menu, the restaurant La Ham is a meat lover’s paradise

No love is more sincere than the love of food. That explains why my intrepid food-loving friends and I drove through crawling traffic, intermittent gridlocks and a mob of protestors for a plateful of kebabs. After a little over an hour, famished and wiped out, we pull up in front of La Ham. It’s an unassuming little place spiked with a few posters that sit uncomfortably on the largely empty walls. In the compact open kitchen, the chef and his team work in a mechanical manner like the oompa loompas in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. “This place had better be worth the drive,” growls one of my fellow diners. The food starts arriving in quick succession — chicken kebab that has a wonderfully smoky taste, beef sheesh taouk packed with a mix of spices, including home ground garam masala, coated in egg and tiny bits of onion and chilli, and light and fluffy shawarma rolls. With around 200 dishes listed in the menu, including a majority of non-vegetarian favourites, this place is a meat lover’s paradise. No wonder the restaurant is titled La Ham, Arabic for meat. While we delve into our fiery barbeque chicken, the vegetarian friend gingerly bites into her paneer tikka, which is rather average. The paneer butter masala and tawa roti that she orders is good but not a patch on the mutton pepper fry that we polish off with the mutton-stuffed roti. With all things meat sitting on our table, we take a break sipping on refreshing peach ice tea that has cubes of coco jelly dunked in it. It’s probably time to stop. But one of the owners quickly brings us their speciality La Ham chicken. Delicious, with a cashew paste-filled centre, it doesn’t take much to polish off. He then cheerfully informs us that while deciding the menu everything that he likes had been added to it. “I might look like this, (pointing at his slender frame) but I can finish all of it,” he grins, looking at all the food on our table. Soon the menu will have peri peri chicken (another one of his favourites) and Thai cuisine.

After our late lunch, which was probably worth the ride, as we troop out, a poster catches our eye. It reads: “If you like the food kiss the chef.” Given our experience, that’s something the chef could well get used to!

La Ham is located at 3,Balfour Road, Kellys, Kilpauk. Phone: 4353569